Who Is Alison?
Why I Do What I Do
Music has always been an important part of me. Since I first picked up a baritone sax aged 11, to playing at the Royal Albert Hall when I was 16, to meeting the man I later married in a band at university, music has changed the course of my life.
I believe everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy learning and playing music, and that is the mission of my School of Music. Not everyone can afford to buy or rent a sax or a clarinet on a whim, and it can put some people off. That's why I became a Nuvo Ambassador. Many of my students started on the plastic Nuvo jSAX or Clarineo, and now I am teaching them on the 'traditional' full-sized instruments they have progressed to.
I have played in full orchestras in my career, and it is an awe-inspiring feeling to be part of the swell and flow of a classical piece. But for me, jazz is the ultimate musical experience. To play with a group of other musicians and to make something truly unique every time you perform is exhilarating and intense. Through a proper training process, I hope that some of my students will be able to enjoy the thrill of playing the type of music that they love.
What is my background?
I have lived in the UK my whole life, at times in the North West and the North East, but now living in Tamworth in the Midlands with my husband and two sons (aged 5 and 3).
I started playing the clarinet aged 9 and then baritone saxophone aged 11, after a music teacher challenged me to try to get a note out of it. I did, and the rest is history!
I studied clarinet and saxophone throughout school, with highlights being to play in the Midlands Youth Orchestra, and in the Staffordshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, where I learned to shape my own style. I performed in venues across the country including the Royal Albert Hall and Birmingham's Symphony Hall.
My music qualifications are ABRSM Grade 8 Distinction on (alto) saxophone and (Bb) clarinet, but I also play and perform on soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones. I've got grade 5 distinction on piano and music theory. Following an A level in Music, I read music and history at Durham University, achieving a First Class BA (Hons).
After graduating, I trained to Qualified Teacher Status as a secondary teacher, and I have a PGCE from the University of Cambridge. I was a classroom teacher at a high school in Barton-Under-Needwood and during this time I was selected for the National College of School Leadership Fast Track Teaching Programme and completed training in Project Management and Creative Thinking.
After the birth of my sons I decided it was time to continue my passion for both music and teaching by establishing my own school of music based in Tamworth. I am currently part of the postgraduate Jazz department at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire specialising in Jazz saxophone performance.